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Phys Rev Lett. 2011 Apr 22;106(16):167004. Epub 2011 Apr 22.

Number fluctuations of sparse quasiparticles in a superconductor.

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SRON National Institute for Space Research, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


We have directly measured quasiparticle number fluctuations in a thin film superconducting Al resonator in thermal equilibrium. The spectrum of these fluctuations provides a measure of both the density and the lifetime of the quasiparticles. We observe that the quasiparticle density decreases exponentially with decreasing temperature, as theoretically predicted, but saturates below 160 mK to 25-55/μm(3). We show that this saturation is consistent with the measured saturation in the quasiparticle lifetime, which also explains similar observations in qubit decoherence times.

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